Barnet Mencap’s Autism Service has been shortlisted for the National Autistic Society’s prestigious Autism Professionals Awards, in the Outstanding Adult or Children’s Services – health or social care
The annual awards recognise people, services and schools across the UK who are making a difference to autistic people and their families. The winners will be announced at a special ceremony on 27 February at Birmingham Town Hall, following the first day of the National Autistic Society’s Professionals Conference.
The Autism Service was shortlisted by an independent panel of autism specialists, who were looking for high standards of innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability. By celebrating their achievements, the National Autistic Society hopes to increase public understanding of autism and inspire other people and organisations to make a difference too. There are 13 awards for individuals and organisations, covering education, health, social care, employment, and volunteering.
The Autism Service is a project to identify adults living in Barnet who might have high functioning autism (HFA) and to offer information, advice and support to them and those who already have a diagnosis.
The project started as a pilot over 2 years ago and in this time, it has established strong relationships with other services and organisations within the local community and supported nearly 500 service users.
An important role of the service is to raise awareness among professionals and members of the public, about the condition and specifically adults with HFA who tend to fall through the net of services and professionals: many people with HFA, and especially women, might have been able to sail through the education system but this is masking the extreme social difficulties these people face in their day to day lives, the constant feeling of inadequacy, the need to mask their own feelings and thoughts and the extreme anxiety daily events cause them.
There are around 700,000 autistic adults and children in the UK. Many autistic people need extra time to process information, like questions or instructions, feel intense anxiety in social or unexpected situations and find noise, and bright lights painful and distressing.
Every autistic person is different and will have their own strengths and challenges. Some autistic people might need 24-hour care; others may need clearer communication or a little longer to do things at school or work. Without the right support or understanding, autistic people can miss out on an education, struggle to find work and become extremely isolated.
Christine Lesmes, Senior Autism Adviser, said: we are delighted to have been shortlisted in the Outstanding Adult or Children’s Services – health or social care at the National Autistic Society’s Autism Professionals Awards, it is a reflection of the good work that the Autism Service carries out. It also is a reflection of the impact high functioning autism has on people’s lives and they invisibility of this condition that causes many people to fall through the net of support.
Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, said: “Our awards celebrate exceptional people, schools and services making a huge difference to autistic children and adults, and their families.
“All the finalists should be commended for impressing the judges and standing out among so many excellent nominations.
“We want to celebrate their achievements and share their stories, so we can promote innovative autism practice and inspire other people and organisations to help create a society that works for autistic people.”
Find out more about autism, the Autism Professionals Awards and the Professionals Conference by visiting www.autism.org.uk/professionals